Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Hons.)


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Claudette Kelly


Midwives have advocated the use of salt baths for the relief of perineal trauma in post partum women because they believe in their therapeutic powers in an extensive review of the literature no scientific evidence has been found to support this belief. The use of salt baths bas been discontinued in favour of showers and normal hygiene in many obstetric units. The purpose of this study is to discover whether the faith of the believers is misplaced or justified. It is designed to contribute to the body of knowledge of current nursing practice and provide a scientific base for change. This is a comparative study using a pre-test post-test untreated control group design. The population studied included patients at a large metropolitan teaching hospital who had sustained an episiotomy, sutured tear or combination of episiotomy and tear, had been admitted to one of two postnatal wards, spoke English and were not already taking part in the Raine study. A sample of 114 patients were allocated to one of two groups: one group had showers (normal hygiene) and salt baths and the other group had showers only. The REEDA scale devised by Davidson in 1970 was used to evaluate the condition of the perineum within the first 24 hours post deli very and approximately 96. hours later. It was found that the second REEDA score of patients who had had salt baths was significantly lower (p =isthe first to compare the effectiveness of salt baths and showers with showers only replication of the study is recommended to confirm the result obtained